Guide to pages
Cambodia's 1998 Election
(Page 4 of 9)
The opposition marshals its complaints
CAMBODIAN ELECTION PROBLEMS IN SUMMARY
August 5, 1998
CPP seized control of legal mechanisms, including the National Election Committee and the Constitutional Council. The National Election Commission then selected all personnel for the provincial election commissions, commune election commissions and polling station staff.
The NEC's media rules allowed the CPP to dominate radio and television for months before the elections.
The CPP used its network of appointed local officials to organize a nationwide campaign of pressure and intimidation, including the well-known "thumbprint campaign," organized gift-giving, and violence against opposition organizers.
Dozens of opposition supporters were murdered. The NEC and the regular law officers gave complete impunity to the perpetrators of violence against the opposition, and the men Hun Sen appointed to oversee election security denied there was any political violence at all.
During the polling process
There have already been many reports of polling abuse and cheating, ranging from intimidation by local officials to forced voting of various kinds. Witnesses tell stories of severe threats against them and their families.
Counting stations were set up so party observers could not monitor the counting. We have filed hundreds of reports of this problem and of incorrect counting of ballots.
NEC rules of ballot security have not been followed. Bags are improperly sealed and stored without security or observers being present. SRP legal observers have been stalked and threatened even inside the NEC headquarters itself.
Tens of thousands of blank ballots have gone missing, according to reports submitted to the NEC by provincial election commissions.
The NEC has decided, without benefit of a legal process, to use a seat allocation formula that benefits the top vote-getter in each constituency. We have challenged this decision.
Since the election
A campaign of retribution against opposition activists has driven hundreds from their homes. As of August 4, the SRP human rights committee has processed reports of 2 beatings, 2 rapes, 16 murder attempts, and 151 separate cases of threats or intimidation. FUNCINPEC has reported at least as great a volume of cases.
The NEC has delayed releasing results again and again. There are increasing signs of dissension within the NEC.
Recounts have started slowly, and already we see many CPP ballots that should have been disqualified but were accepted.
August 10, 1998
NEC STUMBLES OVER OWN CONTRADICTIONS
The National Election Committee has found itself in a difficult position regarding its mishandling of the formula for seat allocation. The "clarification" made on August 8 by Mr. Im Suosdei, the Secretary General of the NEC, seems to make matters worse. Unfortunately for the NEC, the ruling Cambodian People's Party now expects the NEC to arrange a CPP victory in an election won by the opposition.
1. The NEC claims that the May 6 version of its Rules & Procedures was only a draft. However it is not labeled as such, its format is identical to the subsequent version, it was circulated widely, and various NGOs have publicly used the formula in Annex V for their post-election seat calculations. Raoul Jennar, an experienced Cambodia analyst, elaborated on this formula (called Balinski/Young) in his lengthy and detailed July 11 article in The Cambodia Daily. Despite all this, the NEC never repudiated the May 6 Rules & Procedures or the formula in it-until after the election. Only the CPP seems to have been aware that another formula had been introduced.
2. NEC Information Officer Leng Sochea and NEC Chairman Chheng Phon's spokesman Samraing Kamsan claimed on several occasions last week that there was a meeting on May 28 to change the formula. Despite repeated requests from journalists, the NEC failed to produce minutes of such a meeting, and suddenly the claims have been dropped. Similarly, an alleged letter signed on May 29 by Chheng Phon approving a changed formula appears to have disappeared from the scene.
The NEC's new line of defense is to claim there has been no change in the formula at all, and therefore no meeting was necessary. Mr. Sik Bun Hok, legal adviser to Mr. Chheng Phon, claimed on August 8: "We did not change any text." In fact, the text changed significantly, from the Balinski/Young formula in the May 6 Rules & Procedures, to a different formula (called Jefferson) in the May 29 Rules & Procedures.
3. Mr. Theo Noel, a Canadian adviser to the NEC, told journalists and observers on August 8: "The formula was never changed. The only change was the example in the draft, because there were some mistakes." In fact, in the May 29 Rules & Procedures a sentence was added to Annex V, the formula was changed, and the example was changed. All changes are perfectly consistent with a change from Balinski/Young to Jefferson. Indeed, NEC treasurer Chhay Kim told The Cambodia Daily on August 9 (see August 10 issue) that in late May "I gave him [Noel] the book and the document" with the Jefferson formula.
4. If the only parts of the draft that were changed were "examples," as Noel claims, then-because all parts of Annex V have been changed in a substantial and consistent way-both versions of the Rules & Procedures contain only "examples." If that is the case, then there can be no formula other than the one described to Members of the National Assembly during debate on the Election Law in December. This description was given by co-Minister of Interior You Hockry, MP and corresponds to the Balinski/Young formula.
(Copies of the first and second version in Khmer along with their accompanying examples and English translations are available at the SRP Cabinet Office.)
August 10, 1998
Excellency Kofi A. Annan
Secretary General of the United Nations
By kindness of His Excellency Lakhan Mehrotra, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General in Cambodia
Please allow us to draw your urgent attention to the critical question of the seat allocation formula to be used in the 1998 Cambodian Election of Members of the National Assembly.
Although this may appear to be a technical matter, there is a great danger that the will of the Cambodian people will not be carried out if the National Election Committee (NEC) is permitted to improperly change the formula for allocating seats in the Assembly. The formula that the NEC now plans to use, contrary to the law and legal procedure, would hand the majority in Cambodia's National Assembly to the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) instead of the opposition (FUNCINPEC and the Sam Rainsy Party).
According to preliminary results the opposition won 46.0% of the popular vote, compared to the 41.4% won by the CPP. The opposition would also win the absolute majority of seats, 62 out of 122, in the National Assembly if the seat allocation is based on the legal formula.
We refer your attention to the enclosed documents: · White Paper on the Seat Allocation Formula (August 8) · Clarification on the Allocation of Seat Formula (NEC, August 8) · Statement: NEC Stumbles Over Own Contradictions (August 10) · Memorandum by legal expert Allen P.K. Keesee, Esq. (August 7)
The allocation of seats to those parties that won them under the legal formula is an integral part of the electoral process. The international observers coordinated by the United Nations have tried to prevent manipulation at the polling and the ballot-counting stages of the electoral process. Now we put our faith in the United Nations to do what is in its power to help prevent a procedural manipulation that would distort the will of the Cambodian people and have far-reaching consequences.
We have noted your call for the formation of a new government as quickly as possible to reflect the will of the Cambodian people as expressed in the 1998 election. But no coalition government can be formed until the legal formula for seat allocation is implemented and the irregularities pointed out by the opposition are properly addressed, because we have to ensure that the will of the people is fully respected.
Please, Your Excellency, accept the assurances of our highest regards.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh
President, Sam Rainsy Party
Phnom Penh, August 13, 1998
His Excellency Mr. Chheng Phon
President of the National Election Committee (NEC) Kingdom of Cambodia
Although we are aware that the NEC under your Presidency announced on August 11 that it has ended its role in the 1998 Election of Members of the National Assembly, several important questions remain unanswered.
1. Why did you sign a secret contract with the Argentine firm Ciccone Calcographica SA on March 7, 1998? When you signed that contract, were you aware of the past records of this company and its Israeli partner, Malam Systems Ltd in elections in other countries, such as Zambia in 1996? When did these companies end their role in the Cambodian election, if they have ended it?
2. Why have you signed two documents that contradict each other? The first one is the letter dated May 29, 1998, appearing in the front of the version of the Rules & Procedures dated May 29, in which you declare that the Rules & Procedures comprising ten chapters and eight annexes is officially promulgated that day, May 29. The second one is the minutes of the NEC dated May 29, saying that the NEC, before promulgating its revised Rules & Procedures, decided to allow NEC member Chhay Kim to re-check the document until May 30.
3. When did the NEC discuss which seat allocation formula to adopt as the fifth annex of its Rules & Procedures and when did the NEC make a legal decision on that question? The NEC must implement the Law on Election of Members to the National Assembly (LEMNA), including Articles 5 (re proportional representation) and 118 (re greatest average formula). On what basis can you say that the NEC's latest decision best reflects the letter or spirit of the LEMNA? The Balinski/Young formula appeared in the Rules & Procedures dated May 6 and again in May 25, but the formula apparently changed to the Jefferson formula in the Rules & Procedures dated May 29. Did the formula change, or was it only a correction of the example presented along with the formula, as claimed by some NEC officials or advisers? If the formula did change, was the change made according to legal procedures (LEMNA Article 17 and NEC by-laws)? We have had no response to a letter dated August 10 rejecting the changed formula.
4. On Saturday, August 8, delegations from FUNCINPEC and the Sam Rainsy parties met formally with the NEC subcommittee for re-counting. At the meeting we asked for re-counts without advance notice. The NEC members present, led by Tep Chanvibol, said they would consult a higher authority on this question. We have received no answer and in the meantime the NEC has decided to stop re-counting. Why did the NEC stop re-counting after only eight communes were re-counted out of 1,570 communes? Do you believe a re-count of 0.5% of the total vote, taking place with days of advance notice for the election organizers, can prove that miscounting or fraud did not alter the results of the election?
5. On August 1 the Sam Rainsy Party wrote you a letter asking for a re-organized vote in Phnom Penh, because the leading newspaper in Phnom Penh, Rasmei Kampuchea, reprinted a slanderous anonymous leaflet attacking Sam Rainsy on its front page on election day, despite prohibitions on campaigning and political propaganda after the campaign period. Why did you never respond to that letter?
6. The opposition wrote to you on August 8 to request that Second Prime Minister Hun Sen be stricken from the Cambodian People's Party candidate list because there is no evidence that he resigned his position as co-Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), as required by Articles 34 and 35 of the LEMNA. If he resigned, his resignation letter to the King and the King's acceptance should have been publicized, so the electorate would have known that he was no longer a member of the RCAF, as is the intent of Articles 34 and 35. Why did we receive no response?
As a deeply religious man, Your Excellency, you should not be afraid of bringing the truth out into the light.
Please accept, Your Excellency, assurances of our high regards,
Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh Sam Rainsy President, FUNCINPEC President, Sam Rainsy Party
August 13, 1998
SRP DELIVERS THICK STACK OF COMPLAINTS TO "CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL"
By SRP Staff
At 4:30 pm today members of the Sam Rainsy Party left the Cabinet office to deliver their official complaints about the conduct of the 1998 election to the putative Constitutional Council in Chamkarmon Palace.
The 609 complaints were originally addressed to the National Election Committee and date from July 29 and after. They are divided into three categories: counting, intimidation and human rights violations, and miscellaneous.
The pile of counting complaints stands just over ten centimeters tall, with about two centimeters of human rights violations and five centimeters of miscellaneous complaints. The package as a whole weighs in at over three kilograms.
After the NEC rejects or fails to consider a complaint, the Law on Elections provides for an appeal to the Constitutional Council. But what the ruling party passes off as a Constitutional Council is made up chiefly of CPP supporters who were chosen illegally and in some cases are not eligible to be members under the Constitution. It is impossible for them even to assemble a legal quorum.
Even as this group was being hastily assembled in May and June, we said that the CPP was just setting up a rubber stamp to legitimize whatever it does. We (and others) carefully explained which laws were broken and which requirements were ignored, and what steps would be necessary to create a legitimate Council. These steps were not taken, and now we expect to see the rubber stamp in action.
The ruling party will carefully monitor the reaction of the international community to the initial decisions of the council. Then we expect that the council will rule on increasingly fundamental questions such as the seat allocation formula, until either the tolerance of the international community is exceeded or Hun Sen's rule appears fully legitimized.
We harbor no illusion that the council can or will give our complaints a proper hearing. Aside from its lack of legal standing, it lacks the staff and resources to handle the mammoth task that the National Election Committee has left undone.
We will continue to strive to bring closer the day when Cambodia can join modern nations in functioning under the rule of law.
- end -
For more information, call Ou Bunlong of the SRP complaint committee (855-15-835-547) or Rich Garella (855-12-802-062).
August 14, 1998
CC STAFF REFUSE TO RECEIVE LEGAL COMPLAINTS
By SRP Staff
This morning at 10:15 am, SRP President Sam Rainsy, Secretary General Yim Sokha and others brought a set of complaints to the Constitutional Council building for the second time. The complaints were initially rejected by the reception staff yesterday.
Once again the receptionist staff at the Constitutional Council building refused to receive the complaints (numbers 2-7 below), claiming that the National Election Committee (NEC) has not ruled yet, so there can be no appeal. However, the NEC has not even replied to these complaints. Instead, it declared its work over on August 11.
One complaint was accepted yesterday:
1. Our complaint against the NEC for stopping the re-count too soon, including requests for 616 re-counts, all of which the NEC rejected.
The reception staff refused to receive:
2. Request for re-counts at eight communes in Ponhea Krek district, Kompong Cham, where there were over 1000 votes are missing. 3. Complaint against NEC officials for various ballot manipulation. 4. NEC choice of formula for seat allocation. 5. Demand inventory and reconciliation of used and unused ballots. 6. Disqualify Hun Sen for failing to resign from RCAF. 7. Appeal against preliminary results published by NEC on August 5. 8. Demand re-polling in Phnom Penh because of improper campaigning.
The reception staff said that these complaints are not within the competence of the Constitutional Council-a legal decision that they are not entitled to make. Reportedly the staff later said that the complaints did not come with a cover letter. However the rules for complaint submission only require that each complaint have the name and address of the complainant. This requirement is met by our documents.
With this rejection, they are dropping even the pretense of being a legitimate Constitutional Council," said Rainsy, "They are just testing to see how far they can go in ignoring the Constitution, the law, and the will of the people."
- end -
For more information, call Ou Bunlong of the SRP complaint committee (855-15-835-547) or Rich Garella (855-12-802-062). We can provide copies of any original documents described, including the complaints themselves. For further background, please refer to the August 13 joint letter from Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Sam Rainsy to Chheng Phon, and other previous documents available at the SRP Cabinet office, 12 Street 240, Phnom Penh.
[Following is the text of a statement signed by Theo Noel, a Senior Election Technical Advisor to Cambodia's National Election Committee (NEC), and dated August 9, 1998.
Noel has been advising Cambodian election officials for well over a year, leading up to the National Assembly elections held on July 26. Originally paid through USAID, his funding was terminated along with other US aid after the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) seized power on July 5-6, 1997. The Canadian International Development Agency then picked up his funding.
The statement comes to light as the election results remain mired in controversy over the formula to be used for allocating seats in the National Assembly. Noel played a central role in drafting the Rules and Procedures, which include various versions of the formula. The latest version includes a formula that would leave the CPP with a majority. However the NEC has not presented any evidence that any version of the Rules and Procedures was ever approved as required by law.
Perhaps the most striking element of the statement is Noel's apparent favoritism shown toward the CPP, and his willingness to make partisan political analysis and policy recommendations to Cambodian political leaders and to the international community (see Conclusion).
Noel has acknowledged this statement as his, saying that it represents his private opinion and was not meant for publication. However, he signed above his title of election advisor, as shown. Here SRP staff have retyped it from a photocopy of the original, retaining original spelling, punctuation,
[Theo Noel's letter follows]
Formula to be used for the allocation of seats to the political parties after the announcement of the official results in Cambodia.
The National Assembly has passed the Election Law on December 19, 1997. To allocate the seats to the political parties, the highest average method was retained. During the review of the Election Law by the Legislative committee, various formulas were discussed, among which, the Hondt method was discussed and used as an example. Other methods such as Hondt, giving identical results, were displayed as well but the last was retained for its simplicity.
The Technical Assistance was requested to draft a regulation for the application of the highest average which the consultant did, based on his understanding of the method and without consultting the text book. The highest average in not used in North America and is not taught in schools or universities. During the review of the draft of the regulation in May, after being informed by two NEC members that the example was not in accordance with the method, he discovered that the example given was not consistent with the method as described in the text book because he had run the formula only once for two remaining seats; which equals to use the other highest averages as the highest remainder, in decreasing order. The textbook stipulates the formula has to be run for each remaining seat. So the consultant, in accordance with the Election Law, revised the example previously given by running the formula for each remaining seat, had it translated and submitted to the NEC for official approval together with the other regulations and procedures late May. The basic formula of the highest average itself has never changed, whatever Peter Schier is saying; it has always been Ha = Vv/(S+1).
As for the versions of the Regulations and Procedures, there were as many as days and a footnote will indicate the day it was reviewed, The NEC has passed first Chapters V and VI for the registration of electors, then progressively other chapters and finally the Whole draft as a whole. Some NGOs and individuals (Some later became candidates) have obtained, for their own information, and through a good will gesture, a copy of the Draft of the Regulations and Procedures, which in some cases they have used against the NEC.
The political parties were provided with a copy of the official Regulations and Procedures and were given 10 days to review the document. They reconvened on June 10 and signed on as having received the Regulations and Procedures, including FUNCINPEC and SAM Rainsy Party.
Highest Average Mechanism:
The highest average mechanism consists of: Step 1, establishing the quota by dividing the total number of valid votes of a province of municipality by the number of seats; Step 2, dividing the total valid votes for each party by the quota. If all the seats are not allocated, Step 3, establishing the highest average by dividing each party valid votes by the number of seats allocated under the quota plus 1. The party which obtains the highest average is allocated the 1st unallocated seat; Step 4, establishing the highest average again using the new number of seats and so on up to the last remaining seat to be allocated. The Hondt method gives identical results.
The use of the highest average mechanism favors any winning party in any constituency where there are seats unallocated following the application of the quota. It does also favor any party which has obtained a number of votes close to the quota (See Siem Riep example for SRP).
In single seat constituencies, the simple majority prevails, distorting the percentage. At the national level, the use of precentage as a comparison between the number of seats and the number of votes is misleading. Percentage can only be established and use honestly on a constituency base where there are more than one seats.
E.g. Sihanoukville CPP 24,067 37.3% 1 100% FUN 19,945 30.9% 0 0%
SRP 13,535 20.9% 0 0%
Others 6,991 10.8% 0 0%
Pailin CPP 3,326 28.3% 0 0%
FUN 2,180 18.6% 0 0%
SRP 5,733 48.8% 0 100%
Others 505 04.3% 0 0%
Kampong Cham CPP 246,900 34.2% 7 38.8%
FUN 277,351 38.5% 8 44.4%
SRP 096,714 13.4% 3 16.6%
Others 100,276 13.9% 0 0%
Siem Reap CPP 137,661 55.8% 3 50%
FUN 069,228 24.5% 2 33.3%
SRP 043,523 15.4% 1 16.6%
Others 032,234 11.4% 0 0%
The NEC has fulfilled its mandate by reviewing the Draft Regulations and Procedures and by passing them. There was never, at any time, attempt of manipulation as alleged by some individuals and parties. The revision of the formula was purely technical and was consistent with the spirit and letter of the Election Law.
There has never been any intention or attempt to favor a party or another. Those who have insinuated that, are the ones who broke away from their former parties and those who, due to bad leadership, have engineered the split of the opposition, now blaming a formula or the NEC, after the fact. Why have they not complained before the election? They won't admit that by acting as they did, they distorted the result of the election by splitting the votes among a number of parties, thus favoring the largest ones.
In Kampong Cham, if the parties 7, 12, 18, 23, 30, 33 and 34 have been together, they would have won 12 seats instead of a combined total of 11 between FUN and SRP and this pattern would have been replicated everywhere. CPP would have retained only 5 of the 8 one seat constituencies and would have lost Sihanoukville and Koh Kong. In Banteay Meanchey, the CPP would have retained 2 seats and the coalition 4. Overall, the CPP has benefitted from a divided opposition and has won the majority in the N.A. for that specific reason, as the simple analysis of the results demonstrate it.
The opposition parties, in my view, should now accept the results of the election gracefully and should stop identying scapegoats to cover up their divisions and their weaknesses. I also think that the international community should cut short supporting the opposition claims, which up to now, were proven groundless.
The new government of Cambodia has a huge task ahead for the next five years. Ranariddh should acknowledged his half-defeat and should help to confirm the new government.
Senior Election Technical Advisor
Because the government of Second Prime Minister Hun Sen was installed by a coup d'etat on July 5-6, 1997 and is not the legal government of the Kingdom of Cambodia under the Constitution of Cambodia,
Because procedures for contracting investment projects since July 6, 1997 have not complied with laws and regulations in force in Cambodia, and
In accordance with the statement of Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh, the legal and democratically elected First Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, on August 22, 1997,
Any contract signed between foreign investors and the current Cambodian authorities after July 6, 1997 and before the formation of a legal government under the Constitution of Cambodia following elections in 1998 is subject to revision and possible annulment.
It is our duty to defend the national interests of Cambodia by ensuring that contracts are signed through legal procedures, on behalf of the people, not for the benefit of a small group led by partisan interests.
We advise all investors or potential investors to ensure that they consider carefully the legal ramifications of entering into contracts with the present illegal Phnom Penh government.
Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh
President of FUNCINPEC
President of the Sam Rainsy Party
Phnom Penh, August 18, 1998
His Excellency Domingo Siazon
It has come to our attention that on Saturday in Manila you reportedly said that "it would be highly immoral or irresponsible for the political leaders of Cambodia not to form a government only because of their individual ambitions."
We assume that you are referring to Mr. Hun Sen, for if we opposition leaders were indeed immoral then we would accept the undemocratic outcome that the ruling party has engineered. If we were indeed irresponsible, then we would ignore the democratic aspirations of our people and abandon them to further exploitation by the current illegal regime. And if we were indeed driven by our "individual ambitions" we would accept the security, power and riches of positions as ministers in a government led by the Cambodian People's Party instead of risking all we have for the sake of democratic principles.
We are confident that as the representative of one of the truest democracies in ASEAN you support transparency in electoral processes and the most loyal adherence to the popular will that is possible in practice. We are certain that you would never advocate that the Cambodian people give up the same ideal that the Philippine people struggled for so bravely.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh
President, Sam Rainsy Party
August 17, 1998
His Excellency Lloyd Axworthy
We are deeply concerned about the activities of a senior election technical adviser funded by Canada's foreign aid program (CIDA). The adviser, Mr. Theo Noel, has been circulating in Phnom Penh a letter dated August 9, 1998, in which he attempts to defend his role in the debacle over the formula to be used to allocate National Assembly seats after Cambodia's elections. The formula was never specified in the law, and its legal status is under investigation.
Mr. Noel's letter raises serious questions about his suitability and competence for the central role he took in the elections. Mr. Noel's account of the sequence of events surrounding the formula is riddled with technical inconsistencies. Worse, Mr. Noel concludes with highly politicized statements attempting to clear the ruling party of charges it manipulated the election results, and criticizing the opposition and its past policy decisions. Furthermore, Mr. Noel advocates policy positions he believes that opposition leaders should take.
· In his letter, Mr. Noel says that he had to revise the formula because he did not draft it correctly. He says he failed to consult the textbook, implies he was never taught this method at university, and claims he did not recognize his error until two members of the National Election Committee (NEC) pointed it out. He claims that highest average formula is only Ha=Vv/(S+1), and both versions of the formula use this. In fact, both methods (Jefferson and Balinski) use this equation, but they are different methods.
· In defending the revised formula, Mr. Noel slants his analysis to favor the ruling party. He selects four examples out of the 23 provinces to show that the formula he inserted can, in theory, benefit the opposition. In fact, the formula generally benefits the party credited with more votes. Even if we remove the single-seat constituencies, CPP would take 50.0% of the seats with only 40.7% of the vote. Mr. Noel is required to be neutral, but his analysis is pointedly biased.
· Mr. Noel defends the NEC's legal processes, which is outside the scope of his role as neutral Technical Adviser. Mr. Noel is not a member of the NEC and has no standing to make legal rulings.
· On Aug 14, Mr. Noel acknowledged that even the NEC's vice president, Kassie Neou, still thought on July 30 that Balinski was the correct formula, adding that Neou has been using an "illegal document" (the NEC's Rules & Procedures). This inappropriate legal interpretation and accusation against the only fully independent NEC official was witnessed by Canadian Ambassador Gordon Longmuir, Mrs. Kazuko Longmuir, Canadian Embassy official Ung Bun Leng, the undersigned Sam Rainsy and Tioulong Saumura.
All the technical errors made by Noel are, intentionally or not, to the benefit of the ruling party. The inconsistencies in his explanation are all made in a seeming effort to cover up this bias.
We would also point out that Mr. Noel, who is neither a lawyer nor an election expert, says he made a mistake in drafting the Rules & Procedures. We are concerned that he may not be competent to fulfill the role he ended up in.
Even more disturbing is that Mr. Noel seems to go well beyond that role, interpreting law and explaining the actions and motivations of NEC and ruling party officials. Mr. Noel signs his statement as "Senior Election Technical Adviser", but his conclusions go far beyond his mandate, and show an extreme bias toward the views of the ruling party.
· Mr. Noel claims knowledge of what he cannot know: that there was no attempt at manipulation, and that the formula revision was consistent with the Election Law.
· Mr. Noel blames the opposition's purported loss on "bad leadership" that "engineered the split in the opposition". He claims that the split gave the CPP the majority, as if the formula (and a multitude of other factors) had no effect.
· Mr. Noel urges the international community to stop supporting "opposition claims" (presumably of polling and counting fraud), which he says have "proven groundless". Mr. Noel could have no knowledge of any such proof, as the NEC has failed to conduct any serious investigation of irregularities, has prevented opposition observers from doing their duty, and has closed up shop.
· Mr. Noel advises Prince Ranariddh to "acknowledge his half-defeat" and to "help confirm the new government".
Noel's letter indicates that he sides with the ruling party and has sided with them for some time. Whatever the reason, we believe it is entirely inappropriate for a foreign-funded technical adviser to base his advice, actions and testimony on his personal bias.
We would be most grateful if you would clarify whether Mr. Noel's statements and actions are within the scope of the duties of a Canadian-funded election adviser and whether his stated views represent the views of the Foreign Ministry of Canada.
Mr. Noel's actions have had a critical effect on the Cambodian elections; they may even have affected whether the majority of seats in the Assembly go to the ruling party or the opposition. If Mr. Noel's actions are representative of the role that foreign advisers played in the Cambodian elections, the implications are very serious indeed.
Please, Your Excellency, accept assurances of our highest regards.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh
President, Sam Rainsy Party
[TRANSLATION FROM FRENCH]
Phnom Penh, August 20, 1998
Monsieur Jacques Chirac
Président de la République Française
Palais de l'Elysee
Monsieur le President de la Republique,
It is with great emotion that we read your message dated August 13, 1998 that you sent to His Majesty the King of Cambodia and which the King made public. We can assure you that all the Cambodians whatever their political affiliation are grateful to France for the continuous support she has given Cambodia.
In your message you have written, in part: "International observers have certified these elections as free and fair. These elections are above all a success for Cambodia and the Cambodian people. It is now essential that the main political forces of the country work in respect for the will expressed by the Cambodian people."
We would like to note the difficulties faced by the international observers who, having insufficient means but in good faith, could only grasp a portion of the reality. It is not yet possible to state with certainty what the Cambodian people wanted to express through the July 26 elections.
To know this, we would need to bring the electoral process to its completion, which includes the resolution of electoral disputes and rectification of illegal procedures used in the conduct of the elections. In that regard, FUNCINPEC and the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) have filed more than 800 complaints, but the National Election Committee (NEC) dominated by the CPP has processed only eight and left the rest outstanding. We made an appeal to the Constitution Council (also dominated by the CPP) which has already declared that some of our most important complaints are outside its competence.
That is why we request that international observers who have evaluated the election as free and fair continue to observe the electoral process until its full completion. This ultimate but crucial step of the electoral process includes, among others:
- The recounting of ballots in contested cases. The NEC has recounted eight communes out of almost 1600 and concluded that irregularities shown elsewhere by opposition parties were groundless. - The recounting of ballots for a whole constituency when the results are very close. For instance, in the province of Kompong Thom a difference of 129 votes out of 227,461 give an extra seat to CPP to the detriment of FUNCINPEC.
- The allocation of seats according to the formula which respects the Cambodian Constitution and Electoral Law. The three Cambodian NGOs (COMFREL, COFFEL, NICFEC), on which the inter-national observers relied in order to compensate for their own small numbers, have stated their own doubts about the formula the NEC wants to use. This formula would yield, on the basis of preliminary results, 64 seats for the CPP versus 58 for the opposition (FUNCINPEC and SRP), whereas the formula supported by many independent observers would give 62 seats, i.e. the absolute majority, to the opposition that received 46% of the valid votes versus 41% for the CPP.
It is only when the issues raised above are solved with impartiality that the main political forces of the country will be able to work "in respect for the will expressed by the Cambodian people", In that prospect, we request the assistance of France to help Cambodia to restore political stability and progress toward democracy and economic development.
Please accept, Monsieur le President de la République, the assurances of our grateful and respectful sentiments.
NORODOM RANARIDDH SAM RAINSY
President of FUNCIPEC President of SRP
Phnom Penh, August 21, 1998
TERROR CANNOT STOP THE STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM
Last night, August 20, an act of terrorism occurred that cuts to the very heart of the issue of democratization in Cambodia. It was a cowardly, vicious attack organized by killers who are desperate to maintain their stranglehold on the Cambodian nation.
I went to the National Election Committee (NEC) headquarters to stay overnight with my party agents, who have been attempting to safeguard the bags of ballots stored there, in hope of a re-count that has so far been refused except for a token effort. After an interview with journalists on the sidewalk outside the Ministry of Interior compound in which the NEC is located, military police tried to prevent me from reentering the compound. Eventually I was allowed to walk past them as I spoke with the journalists.
At 11:00 pm, between 10 and 20 minutes after I left the sidewalk, someone fired several shots and threw a grenade from a vehicle speeding by at the area where I had been. The driver for Kyodo News Service died on the pavement from a massive head wound.
Inside the compound, police seized more than 30 members of my party, along with several journalists. I was pushed at gunpoint to the ground and kicked. A shot was fired near my head. They threatened to kill us on the spot. We were held against our will, in violation of the agreement between the Cambodian government and the United Nations Secretary General, while the police threatened to "kill us and throw our bodies away." This occurred in the very building in which Secretary of Interior Ho Sok was executed last year during the ruling party's coup. We were released three hours later, after United Nations officials were permitted inside.
The terrorists who threw the grenade last night, and the officials who coordinate the terrorism on behalf of the Hun Sen regime will not be punished as long as that regime remains in power. The regime protects them and survives because of the fear they instill in the Cambodian people, who are well aware of the complete impunity enjoyed by these terrorists who support the ruling regime.
Now these state terrorists strike directly at the electoral process itself, attacking as the opposition presses its demand for an accurate recount. The message cannot be mistaken. Those who demand an investigation into election problems risk their lives. If they are killed, the murderers will never be identified or punished.
The Cambodian opposition has called for a protest march on Sunday to demand that election irregularities be resolved so that the true will of the Cambodian people can be known. The attack last night, just days before our protest march, is clearly intended to frighten people away from the march. It is a chilling reminder of March 30, 1997, when terrorists threw four grenades into a protest my party organized in front of the National Assembly.
The terrorists murdered at least 16 people that day. Last night they murdered a man whose job was to help bring the truth about Cambodia to the world. But the terrorists did not and cannot murder the yearning for democracy that lives in the hearts of the Cambodian people. We will win our freedom.
Personal Account by Chhoeng Manith
Friday, August 21 1989
Last night at around 10:15 pm Sam Rainsy along with other party supporters Japanese journalists were detained inside the Ministry of Interior compound while we guarding the ballots at the NEC office. Separately, Sam Rainsy and his bodyguards were pushed around with gunpoint shoot over his head between the legs and kicked. I was witnessing the whole story, as I was one of them to be detained in the night.
The entire incident was well plan. First of all, the Interior police who guard out side allowed Sam Rainsy, bodyguards and youth group all together about more than 30 people to go in to sleep in front of the NEC office about 10:10pm. About half an hour later a group of Japanese journalist arrived and waiting outside to talk to Rainsy. SR has to come back to talk to them. After about 10-15 minutes interviewing the group request SR to inside to take picture where he was going to sleep. Mr. President asked the Interior Ministry guards for permission to bring those journalists in. There was a little confrontation occurred with a new arrival group of military polices but was intervened from Mr. You Hokry by phone 10 minutes later. We all allowed to go in. Those military police were disappeared. Halfway in we meet another kind of police forces with dark blue beret uniform. They accompanied us to go in until we reach NEC building about 100m away. Later they us arrest Mr. Sam Rainsy and us.
Inside, Japanese journalists took picture of Sam Rainsy while he was sitting on his small bed set up under the NEC building veranda outside the door. After that he intended to show journalist around the building but was stop by the polices. A man in a civilliance clothes appear to be a police chief come direct to Mr. Sam Rainsy and said " His Exellency I want to talk to you privately in quiet place". He refused to go. Later, Mr. Sam Rainsy agreed to talk to that man but in front of the NEC building as he said that he got nothing to do with Interior Ministry but to sleep guarding the ballot papers only. Interior polices tried to separate us and journalist into group but the officer in civilian clothes did not talk to Sam Rainsy at all. Instead those polices appeared to stay in the position waiting for something to happen. Suddenly, there was gunshot followed by explosion outside compound. Swiftly, those polices were running toward us in the real combat situation and used gunpoint to push us around. The polices ordered us to stay in one place. If any one trying to move around will be shot to break the chest they say. They are running around to search for the intruder. In fact, there was no intruder. In that time I look at Mr. Sam Rainsy direction saw that he was cover by his bodyguards. A few minutes later, the polices come back and said " check them. Check A Me first" in a loud voice. Polices pull them out and started to search them for any weapon hiding. Police ordered them to raise their hands up if any one dare to put down would be shot. That time they arrested Sam Rainsy and his bodyguards along with Mr. Kouy Bunroeun, assistant general party treasurer, and Mr. Yim Sovan, party treasurer. Those polices started to call Mr. Sam Rainsy " A Me" pushed him to the ground shot over his head and between his legs, he fell to the ground they kick him and confiscated his hand phone and others 2 phones and 2 Icoms. Bunreun and Sovan were kicked several times as well.
The situation in that time was so tense if anyone trying to protest will get shot.
At the end they lock them up in the same room as they lock Mr. Ho Sok, Secretary of State of Ministry of Interior during 5-6 July 1997 coup d'etat. During the detention the police always try to separate Mr. Sam Rainsy from his bodyguards.
Exactly at 11:25 pm the police started to call Mr. Sam Rainsy's driver and other car drivers who has car there to remove their cars. I pretended to be a journalist so they put me in a separated group with Kyodo and Yomiri Shimbun journalists together about 12 peoples. We were questioned by 3 civilian clothes who claimed to be a security agent for NEC and have the relation with Japanese Embassy staff. They searched us for any weapon. A police chief searched me for two times: one for the journalist pass and another time he looking into my address book for weapon. All camera films were confiscated. During that time the man who claimed to be a chief of security agent trying to ask the Japanese journalists why they come inside the compound and to explain to them that he wanted to provide security to them and other journalists by not let them in side the compound at night as security inside was not guaranteed. We were strictly not allowed to move around at all. They release us about 3 hours later. We were walked to the front gate and stop us when there was a group of UN agents trying to get in. I did not dare to talk to any one in that time, as I was still inside Interior Ministry compound. I can see clearly Mr. Brad Adams of High Commissioner for Human Rights and others just allowed to come inside. Then, about 5 minutes later we decided to walk out. Outside we learn that Mr. Sam Rainsy an other were still in detention room. Mr. Rich Garella was there. I have a brief talk to him with little shaking.
Later, I learned that police released Mr. Sam Rainsy buy intervention from Mr. Sor Kheng and Brad Adam but he waited there for all his supporters to get release too. We decided to leave Ministry of Interior and come to Cambodia Daily to report. That was about 2:30 am Friday 21 August 1998.
August 21, 1998
Kofi A. Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations
Jacques Santer, President of the European Commission
Bill Clinton, President of the United States
Keizo Obuchi, Prime Minister of Japan
John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia
To International Supporters of Human Rights in Cambodia,
As chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the National Assembly of Cambodia, I wish to express my urgent concern about the situation in Cambodia and request your timely support for human rights here.
Cambodia's 1998 election for members of the National Assembly is at risk of being further discredited by human rights violations.
On the evening of August 20, while one of the opposition party presidents, Sam Rainsy, was at the National Election Committee headquarters, unknown men fired shots and threw a grenade in front of the compound, killing an employee of the Japanese Kyodo News Service.
I fear this attack is calculated to discourage Cambodian citizens from exercising the political freedoms guaranteed them by the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The opposition parties have called for a demonstration in favor of election reforms on Sunday, August 23, 1998. Although the right to peaceful protest is among the guaranteed political freedoms, the Cambodian authorities have denied permission for the demonstration. The spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Khieu Sopheak, said that the security of the protesters cannot be guaranteed.
As chairman of the Human Rights Committee, I urge you to condemn publicly any explicit or implicit threat of violence as a technique to make people give up their political rights, and affirm that providing security for peaceful protests is the obligation of any legitimate government.
I believe the Cambodian people would be better able to exercise their rights if they heard the international supporters of human rights make a public statement in favor of those rights at this critical time.
Kem Sokha, Member of the National Assembly Chair of Committee on Human Rights and Complaints
cc: Pierre Cordion, Secretary General, Inter-Parliamentary Union Thomas Hammarberg, UN Secretary General's Special Representative Members of United States Congress
[TRANSLATION FROM KHMER]
JOINT STATEMENT BY POLITICAL PARTIES THAT DO NOT SUPPORT THE RESULTS OF THE JULY 26, 1998 ELECTION
We, the undersigned political parties solemnly declare that: 1. We are committed to unite all free democratic forces. 2. We support the 14-point political platform of the National United Front (NUF) as proclaimed officially on February 27, 1997. 3. We do not recognize the results of the July 26, 1998 election.
Phnom Penh, August 21, 1998
1. Cambodian National Sustaining Party (President: Mr. Pen Sovann) 2. Khmer Unity Party (President: Mr. Khieu Rada) 3. Light of Freedom Party (President: Mr. Thach Reng) 4. Women and Nation Dharma-Teppadei Party (President: Mrs. Por Tei) 5. National Democratic Liberal Salvation Party (President: Mr. Chan Ven) 6. National Restoration Party (President: Mr. Ieng Lal)
Combined with the four original members of the NUF (FUNCINPEC, Sam Rainsy Party, Son Sann Party, and Cambodian Neutral Party), the ten parties are collectively credited with 50.33% of the votes in the National Election Committee's preliminary results.
[Translated from today (22/8/98) "Chak Kraval" front page by SRP staff. Chakraval is perceived by the public to be the voice of the Hun Sen wing of CPP. Today's issue was given out free in markets in Phnom Penh, and featured pictures of people killed in past grenade attacks including March 30, 1997, and the attack last Thursday.]
TA MOK SENT 50 TERRORISTS TO THROW GRENADE AND SHOOTING WITH AUTOMATIC RIFLE TO PARTICIPATE THE DEMONSTRATION WITH SAM RAINSY ON23/8 TO KILL PEOPLE TO GET THE INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION.
(from highlight) GRENADES AND BULLETS HAVE EYES THEY NEVER TOUCH SAM RAINSY.
DEMONSTRATION ON 23/8 IS ILLIGAL AND NO PROTECTION FROM THE AUTHORITY BE CARE FULL NOT TO GET KILL...
- 50 terrorists with the expertise of throwing grenade and shooting with automatic rifle sent by Ta Mok to participate in the demonstration.
- According to the government secret agent 7 of them have been arrested on 20/8/98 in one hotel out side Phnom Penh and confiscated 15 Russian made grenates and 2 AK.
- Government did not reveal the new in order to maintain public order.
- The terrorist did not know the purpose to come but will be told on 22/8/98.
- Source from Funcinpec cabinet said that they have told their member not to participate when Funcinpec learnt that a grenade and gunshot have been thrown and shot in front of the Ministry of Interior.
- It is strenght that the grenade did not hit Mr. Sam Rainsy in the two events ( 30 July and 21 Augest ) only people get hurt that make the Funcinpec not to participate with the demonstration.
- Sam Rainsy is well known to be a strong opposition who use to take human lives as his game to get popularity and support from the international community.
- Sam Rainsy has applied for permission for demonstration but was refuse and give permission to make demonstration on 24/8/98 but Sam Rainsy decided to go ahead on 23/8/98.
- The secret police and the soldier report that if Sam Rainsy go ahead some bad thing may happen because 43 terrorists 50 grenades and 10 automatic assault rifles not yet discovered. They Knew that those terrorists are hiding in Phnom Penh with help from one opposition leader.
August 22, 1998
TERRORISM MUST BE ANSWERED BY THE CALL FOR FREEDOM
We are extremely concerned about the safety of the people who will come to the opposition demonstration on Sunday. We urgently ask for intervention at the highest levels to prevent any problems or violence directed at people who are peacefully expressing their political will under the Constitution.
We are hopeful that tomorrow's demonstration will remain peaceful, and we pledge to do everything in our power to prevent violence of any kind, but we will not give up our rights to satisfy terrorists. We note that Hok Lundy, the chief of National Police, admitted that the Thursday night grenade attack would not have happened if Rainsy was not there (Cambodia Daily July 22).
Our activists have been harassed while they publicize the march. They have been told that it is illegal to hand out leaflets, and that they need special authorization to exercise their rights. This morning police stopped a truck carrying 11 of our activists in Takhmau and seized it. Police held the activists for an hour and half, saying they broke the law and asking what permission they had from the Kandal province authorities.
There are several developments that cause grave concern and show that the regime is either trying to spread rumors to terrorize people into staying away from the demonstration, or is actually planning an attack.
· Today Chakraval, a newspaper perceived as the voice of the Hun Sen/Hok Lundy organization, is being given out for free in the markets. The front page is filled with photos of Sean Sieng, murdered by terrorists Thursday night, and victims of the March 30, 1997 grenade attack, captioned "the result of the demonstration." Headlines warn that Khmer Rouge leader Ta Mok has sent 50 people to throw grenades and warning that the authorities offer no protection, so "be careful not to get killed". The story further sets up a potential cover to blame an attack on the opposition by claiming that an opposition leader is harboring the terrorists. Ta Mok does not have a reason to support or oppose tomorrow's protest. Only those who want to perpetuate a fraud would cause trouble tomorrow.
· We have received information from reliable sources in the Ministry ofInterior that people carrying Sam Rainsy Party membership cards will throw grenades, be caught, and then confess that they were directed by SRP leadership with the goal of stirring up trouble.
· A source in Kompong Cham told us Friday that CPP of Kompong Cham is sending terrorists to Phnom Penh in order to destroy the march. The source said that one group, headed by Soeun Phen Dei (a reputed smuggler and murderer known in Kompong Cham) had already gone to the capital on Friday and another group led by Nuon Samin and Hun To (son of Kompong Cham governor Hun Neng) would go on Saturday. On the way, the SRP member who came to Phnom Penh to report the story even saw the Nuon Samin group about halfway to Phnom Penh. The source has been reliable in the past.
· At 5:00 pm one of our trucks for leafletters was shot and struck by one bullet near O Russei market. An activist who was nearly hit said the gun must have a silencer because he did not hear a shot, but from its angle it could not have come from far away.
We have informed the United Nations Secretary General's Personal Representative and several key Ambassadors of our concerns about tomorrow's march. As before, we urge and invite any and all diplomats and international observers to march alongside us tomorrow to show their support for our democratic rights.
JOINT STATEMENT BY FUNCINPEC AND THE SAM RAINSY PARTY
PRESSURE TO ADDRESS ELECTION SHORTCOMINGS SHOULD COME BEFORE PRESSURE FOR A COALITION GOVERNMENT
Phnom Penh, August 22, 1998
We have understood that the purpose of the Cambodian election was in general to determine the will of the Cambodian people and in specific to fill the seats in Cambodia's National Assembly in accordance with the people's will.
But some foreign political leaders seem to have lost sight of that purpose. Prompted by their honest desire to see stability in Cambodia, they urge the Cambodian opposition to form a coalition government with the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP), as if the results of this election had been verified as democratic. But there is no democratic political force in the world that should or would accept an electoral result with as many questions hanging over it as the Cambodian election has.
The August 20 incident is the most recent evidence that the electoral process has been derailed by terrorism. The terror is designed to prevent anyone from monitoring the bags of ballots that should be recounted, to frighten anyone who would otherwise speak out against election fraud, and to deter anyone who might support the opposition now and in the future.
FUNCINPEC and the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) refer the attention of the international community to the failure of the Cambodian election authorities and legal institutions to carry out their duties and responsibilities.
· The National Election Committee (NEC) has failed to show any evidence that it has ever adopted any rules and procedures for the election or that it has followed any legal decision-making process in accordance with Article 17 of the Law on Elections.
· The NEC has failed to produce any evidence to show that before the elections it legally adopted a formula for seat allocation in the National Assembly; numerous independent local and international organizations have called attention to this issue of decisive political importance.
· The NEC announced a sudden end to its work after re-counting less than half of one percent of the votes cast. It did not answer requests for spot-recounting of ballots. It refuses opposition party agents access to its building to safeguard the ballots, which now sit totally unsecured.
· The NEC has failed to investigate or even respond to hundreds of
>opposition complaints. It claimed that it had found the complaints
baseless, while simultaneously it admitted that it lacked funds, personnel and time to investigate them.
· The Constitutional Council has refused to receive many complaints, inaccurately citing petty procedural errors.
· NEC President Chheng Phon has never answered an August 13 letter from the two main opposition party leaders formally requesting an explanation for the NEC's failure to address numerous official complaints, including some of those mentioned above.
Too many questions remain unanswered. The consistent failure of the NEC and the Constitutional Council to fulfill their responsibilities at all, let alone in a neutral manner, demonstrate that these legal institutions are merely the proxies of the ruling CPP.
To accept undemocratic results would be to condemn Cambodia to at least five more years of thievery, exploitation and environmental destruction, and to ask the international donors to pour more resources into this broken vessel while members of the ruling clique siphon off an equivalent amount for themselves.
Our first duty as democrats is to respect the will of our fellow citizens of Cambodia. The electoral process has so far failed to show what that will is. Therefore we are demanding a thorough, serious investigation and analysis of the process and the results. No honest participant in the electoral process should be afraid to engage in this examination.
We ask that until the people can be confident that a democratic result has been obtained, the international community remain fully engaged in the Cambodian electoral process, actively aid the process by lending impartial advice, and speak out forcefully in favor of transparency, honesty and legality in all stages of the process, especially in this crucial, final stage.
We do not ask the international community to stand with us, but to help make clear the will of the Cambodian people and demand respect for it. Without a democratic result to the election, any government that takes power will be illegal and all true democrats will be honor-bound to condemn it.
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